At noon on January 8, President Tsai Ing-wen, accompanied by Vice President Chen Chien-jen and his wife, hosted a state banquet for President and Mrs. Baron Divavesi Waqa of the Republic of Nauru and their accompanying delegation. President Tsai said she looks forward to more cooperation bringing bilateral relations even closer in the future.
In remarks, President Tsai said she was happy to again host President and Mrs. Waqa along with their delegation at the Presidential Office. President Waqa is one of Taiwan's best friends and has visited many times, giving him an unparalleled understanding of Taiwan. President Tsai particularly mentioned that President Waqa's daughter Carren-Tai Waqa and his granddaughter Barisa Waqa were both present, and that Carren-Tai is currently studying in southern Taiwan, lending further depth to ties with Taiwan.
President Tsai said that not only are Taiwan and Nauru diplomatic allies, both are also home to Austronesian peoples, creating even deeper links between the two countries. Over the past years, the countries have continually enhanced bilateral relations and made many achievements through cultural exchange as well as cooperation in agriculture, healthcare, clean energy, and education.
The president said that educational cooperation has been an important channel for advancing the two countries' diplomatic friendship. In October of 2018, Taiwan held the first "Distinguished Taiwan Alumni Awards," and one of the seven recipients was from Nauru. The president said she looks forward to more cooperation between the two countries to bring bilateral relations even closer. For example, reciprocal visa-free entry was implemented last year, making it even easier for citizens of the two countries to interact. If Nauru Airlines could start operating flights to Taiwan, this would boost people-to-people exchanges and strengthen economic and trade ties.
The president noted that on the 31st of this month, Nauru will celebrate its 51st year of independence, and she took the opportunity to express sincere congratulations on behalf of the people of Taiwan.
Finally President Tsai invited guests to toast the diplomatic friendship between Taiwan and Nauru, and wished the two countries prosperity and enduring friendship.
President Waqa then delivered remarks of his own. He first thanked President Tsai for inviting him to visit Taiwan again to further strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation. As he mentioned in earlier remarks upon meeting President Tsai, he wanted to be the first head of state to visit in 2019, and now he has achieved it.
President Waqa noted that Taiwan and Nauru have launched a number of cooperative projects, including in the areas of fisheries and coast guard operations, through which he hopes Taiwan can increase its presence in the Pacific Ocean. Nauru is very grateful for the various types of aid provided by Taiwan in such areas as healthcare, scholarships, and agricultural missions. He added that we will continue to strengthen bilateral relations through programs Taiwan has put in place.
President Waqa emphasized that regional peace and security are extremely important to all countries, and that Nauru will continue to cooperate with Taiwan and other friends to ensure regional security. He also emphasized that the 23 million people of Taiwan should not be left behind, and that Nauru will continue to staunchly support Taiwan's full participation in the international arena.
Also in attendance at the state banquet were Control Yuan President Chang Po-ya (張博雅), National Security Council Secretary-General David T. Lee (李大維), Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), ROC Ambassador to Nauru Chow Chin-fa (周進發), Nauru Ambassador to the ROC Chitra Jeremiah, and Nicaraguan Ambassador to the ROC William Manuel Tapia Alemán (head of the foreign diplomatic corps in Taiwan).